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I have always been keeping my contact list pretty well organised under Evolution. Recently, though, I bought an Android phone that forced me to import my contacts via my Gmail account. Since my list of contacts on Gmail is more or less a mess, I think it deserves some love. Still, it is not very easy to fix it.

I have imported my contacts from Evolution in vCard format, but it seems that Gmail does not import some fields (for instance I only have part of the pictures) and I am not even sure it imported all of the contacts (I sure hope so!). Another source of annoyance is that Gmail has collected dozens of irrelevant contacts which I only happened to mail once or twice. Add to this the fact that I have added some new contacts on the phone in the meantime.

What it the most reasonable way to manage all this?

It seems to me that at this point the best option is to choose Gmail as my main contacts source and fix it. In order to do so, I should be able to do the following:

  • Move all existing contacts to a separate address book. Some of those automatically created contacts may be useful, but most is junk
  • Tell Google to autosave contacts only on this secondary address list
  • Import a vCard v3 file with my current address book into Google, without losing data
  • Add the contacts on the Android phone

If the above is not possible, can you suggest another way to manage an address book and have it available on the Android phone, on Gmail and on Evolution?

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1 Answer 1

As a long time Evolution user, I had the same problem when I got my first android phone about 18 months ago. The solution I came up with was to first "sync" Evolution to Google Contacts. Then I added my Evolution contacts to the Google Contacts in Evolution.That gave me one unified location for all my contacts. (By the time I did this I had some email addresses in Gmail that weren't in Evolution, and a 10 year long list of contacts in Evolution that weren't on Goggle's servers. My Blackberry synced the old fashioned way: A docking cradle and serial jack. :P )

That said, as you've probably noticed, Google's Contacts are somewhat limited. While you can break your contacts up into "groups" (tags), and even assign one contact to multiple "groups", what you can't do is filter by multiple groups. Say, for example, that some of your contacts are sales prospects. Their core "group" is, of course, "prospects". But being a smart sales person you also use the tags "hot", "warm", and "cold". You can assign your prospect to both "prospects" and "warm", but what you can't do is filter by both "prospects" and "warm" to see a list of contacts that exists only in both "groups". This is a major failing with Google Contacts and, in my opinion, is rather weird since organizing information via tags has become, almost universally, the preferred method.

You'll also notice that all of your Google Contacts now exist in Evolution under "Google", but the "groups" that you created in Google do not carry over to Evolution. So they're there; you can get a all your contacts in Evolution, but they're an unsortable lumped up mess. This seems to be a failing on Novell's part, since on my phone I use DW Contacts and all the "groups" are there, and I can even do "group" based associations. The only work around I've come up with is to make sure that those contacts I may wish to use via Evolution exists both "On This Computer" and on "Google", so that I don't wade through the Google mess more than absolutely necessary to find the contact I want.

Good luck!

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